Lewis Hamilton's dream came true this evening in Singapore, taking a brilliant seventh win of the year and bringing him well and truly back into the championship fight with teammate Rosberg retiring due to an electrical fault early on. It wasn't all Hamilton's way having to create a 26-second gap within 15 laps late in the race to make a pitstop after a safety car period wiped out his lead.
As It Happened… (Retirements stated throughout)
Parade Lap: The field streams away apart from Nico Rosberg who is unable to find a gear to make the car move. He is wheeled away into the pitlane and another steering wheel is swapped out. Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham pulls up meaning for the first time in his career he does not make the grid for a race he has entered.
22nd: Kobayashi (Engine failure)
Lap 1: Lewis Hamilton without his teammate alonside moves away smoothly from the line and into the first corner comfortably ahead of the Red Bull of Vettel who squeezed Ricciardo. Fernando arrioved too hot into turn one, locking his front-left tyre and straight lines the first corner – but allows Vettel through midway around the first lap to avoid scrutiny of gaining an advantage.
Nico Rosberg manages to get away but it is immediately apparent that all is not right and he struggles for pace early on.
Lap 9: Whilst Hamilton is comfortably in the lead by 1.6 seconds and having overtaken David Coulthard as the number one British driver for leading most races at 61, Rosberg is in a world of problems. Riding onboard with the championship leader we see that he his gearbox is going up the gears two at a time. He is then told that the only thing working on his steering wheel is the gear paddles. To further his troubles a whole new routine is prepared for a pitstop as he hasn't got the speed limiter or a clutch available to him.
Lap 12: The leaders start to come in for pitstops with Vettel and Alonso attempting undercuts of the drivers ahead of them. Jenson Button has been quietly progressing his way up the field and briefly runs in second place whilst pitstops are taking place.
Lap 14: Hamilton pits in a very quick 2.9 seconds and maintains first place, and a 7 second lead ahead of Vettel.
Lap 15: Rosberg, running in 16th place enters the pit lane and crawls down the pit lane to stop ion his markings. The engine goes silent, having been told to stall the car, wheels changed…and nothing. Frantically trying to start the car and engage first gear, as his teammate comes round in the background to officially lap Rosberg. Nico waves his arms in the air and his engineer comes on the radio to say "let's park it". Nico Rosberg is out of the grand prix and if Lewis Hamilton wins this race, will lose his 22-point championship lead. Hard to tell if the crowd are cheering or jeering at this retirement.
21st: Rosberg (Electronics failure)
Lap 21: Hamilton leads Vettel by 7.9 seconds with a fast closing Alonso in third just 2.3 seconds further back. Riccirado, Massa, Rikkonen, Bottas, Button, Vergne and Magnussen round out the top 10.
20th: Gutierrez (Battery not charging)
Lap 24: The race is lacking in battles at present, but Alonso is now just 1.2 seconds behind Vettel whilst drivers start to make their second pitstops. Maldonado leaves his pitbox with the airgun still in the wheel – expected to see an unsafe release to come his way, but it didn't.
Lap 26: Alonso pitted for new tyres on the previous lap forcing Vettel into a pitstop to cover him, but Alonso was too quick on his outlap and overtook Vettel as he came down the home straight.
Lap 28: Split strategies happening across the field now with a mixture of drivers choosing now to be the time to use the harder compound (soft) tyre. Hamilton pits and the team use the time advantage he has to clean out some debris in his front wing. He rejoins about 4 seconds ahead of Alonso, with Vettel remaining in third.
Lap 31: In a tight battle with Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez is squeezed out and has his front wing tagged. On the run down to the next corner, Perez' front wing literally explodes and sprawls debris across the track. This triggers the safety car which some drivers use to try a different strategy with some looking at not pitting again. Vettel, now running second (Alonso opted to pit) and using the prime is setting things up so that he will be on the option tyre late in the race when Hamilton will need to be on the slower, prime.
Lap 38: After seven laps of crawling around behind the safety car, and playing into the strategies of those who are now running to the end, Hamilton needs to get a gap of around 29 seconds in order to be able to get into the pits and remain in the lead. On the restart Hamilton finishes lap 38, 3.2 seconds ahead of second placed Vettel. Radio comms may be restricted, but it definitely looks like it is Hammertime.
Lap 41: It is 7.6 seconds the gap now that Hamilton has stretched out, but it is looking likely that he will need to overtake drivers after a pitstop if he is to win this race. Vettel, Ricciardo, Alonso and Massa round out the top five.
19th: Sutil (Unknown)
Lap 47: It is getting very close now with Hamilton's tyres starting to fade, he is 18.7 seconds clear of Vettel. It is possible that Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso can go to the end but Hamilton continues to extend the lead and is up to 20.3 by the end of this lap. The question is when will Hamilton pit…
Lap 51: Ten laps to go, 18 minutes to run, Hamilton's tyres starting to go some more – coming on the radio pleading to get new tyres, but the team knowing he needs to get to a minimum of 26 seconds…which is now at 25.2.
Lap 53: This is it. A slick stop, exiting the pit lane, and it is Vettel who takes the lead, with Hamilton slotting in between the Red Bulls. Now can Hamilton go and get Vettel for the win? He is 1.4 seconds behind the current F1 World Champion. The crowd are getting very excited.
Lap 54: Lewis gets a great run on Vettel and retakes the lead of the race, as Jenson Button retires with what looked like a complete shutdown and a "Welcome to McLaren" screen appearing on his dash!
18th: Jenson Button (System shutdown)
5 Laps (10 mins) to go: Hamilton is back to extending a lead, and comparatively cruising compared to ten laps ago, lapping three seconds a lap slower. The Red Bulls are beginning to struggle for pace having been on the same set now for over 30 laps. Can Alonso overtake Ricciardo in third, to get on the podium?
3 laps (3 mins to go): Hamilton is now 10 seconds in the lead, but all eyes are still on who else will make up the podium. Lots of drivers in this race have exceeded the track limits with penalties being dished out through the field. One driver looking particularly good in this race has been Vergne, really being the star driver at Toro Rosso this evening. The countdown has started, so we will be on a timed race of 2 hours.
Final Lap: One short on the total 61 laps, and it is Hamilton who drives into the championship lead, taking the win in Singapore. He will leave here with a three point lead in the title race going to Japan in two weeks. Vettel does well to hold on to second with Ricciardo in third. Alonso again drove well to outperform his Ferrari in fourth with Massa being the top scoring Williams in fifth. An excellent drive to sixth for Vergne, despite getting a five second penalty. Perez' seventh place helps Force India move above McLaren in the constructors title. Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Magnussen round out the top 10.